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Open mike 30/03/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 30th, 2010 - 50 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

50 comments on “Open mike 30/03/2010”

  1. I dreamed a dream 1

    TV reported that Andrew Williams is going to make an important announcement this (Tues) afternoon. Does anyone know what that’s going to be?

    • Marty G 1.1

      I’ve got a sinking feeling he’ll announce a super-mayor run.

      • northshoreratepayer 1.1.1

        I think you’re spot on with your prediction…….. God what a train wreck.

      • prism 1.1.2

        Hey I hope Williams does say he’s going for the super mayor. The super city divvy-up has gone from the people’s control – now all that’s left is to hold your hats and watch the circus.

        • Tiger Mountain 1.1.2.1

          nah, unspecified SS council posi only according to his press conference around mid day

      • I dreamed a dream 1.1.3

        He (Andrew Williams) said it was his intention to stand for elected office on the Super City Council. He didn’t say if he would run for mayor. (NZ Herald).

        Hooray! Sounds like he’s not standing for Super City mayor, but a council seat. That’s great! Have both Len Brown (as mayor) and Andrew Williams in the Super City.

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    B.r.utal:

    Eric Alterman on the disintegration of the mavericky straight talking expressoholic from Arizona…

    Back in 1998, I wrote a piece about John McCain for Esquire. Now, 12 years later, I am witness to his final degradation as a serious public person. Granted, this has been a long time in the making, ever since wheneer it was that he decided he wanted to be president more than he wanted to be, well, sane. The 2008 campaign was an extended tour of the swamp wherein reside his various grudges, pretensions, and poisonous ill-will toward anyone who didn’t recognize his Green Room-endowed right to run the country. He sold himself to all the people who’d immolated his well-loved 2000 campaign. He violated the campaign law that bore his name. He said that, in retrospect, he wouldn’t have voted for the half-sensible immigration-reform law he’d proposed. Then, in his biggest bow to the Nervous Hospital that the base of his party had become, he picked an ambitious, half-bright goober from Alaska to run with him, made her a star to people who should not be trusted to cut their own meat, and then, when her innate clownishness had made her (and him) such a laughing stock that the Republican ticket lost in places like Indiana to a black man whose middle name was “Hussein,” he sent his remaining loyalists out to emphasize (anonymously) that his running mate was even dumber than the rest of us imagined.

    He then walked back to the Senate and engaged in a prolonged temper tantrum that culminated in his announcement last week that he was so insulted by health-care reform that he would hereafter decline to do his job any more — a refutation of his old “Country First” slogan that was so obviously hilarious that even Harry Reid noticed. Meanwhile, back home, he was being primaried to within an inch of his life anyway by J.D. Hayworth, a former sportscaster who went on to a brief, Abramoff-enriched career as the dimmest bulb in the congressional chandelier. So, here I sit, today, in Arizona, and not eight miles from this computer. John McCain has flown in Sarah Palin to be the featured speaker at a rally that he hopes will push him to victory over a guy whom even all the other congressional dumbasses thought was a box of rocks. She’s endorsing him but, at the rally, HE’S introducing her, and all I can think of is a paraphrase of the late, great Dr. Thompson’s memorable vale to the cursed 1972 campaign;

    “Jesus, how low do you have to stoop in this country if you want to almost be president?”

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/altercation/545819/slacker_friday_night

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    That war on terror keeps on keeping on.

    Haven’t looked, but I’m guessing many rightwingers are demanding that these people be named as enemy combatants, stripped of any habeus corpus rights, denied a trial and waterboarded in order to get the names of others involved in their fundamentalist war against democracy! whisky! sexy!

    Consistency also demands that I object to this plan, and say that these people should be tried as criminals and have their rights protected. Luckily, that’s also what I think!

  4. A brain eating zombie on facebook is nearly more popular than Roger Douglas!

  5. Anne 5

    Frank Macskasy at “Bennett: a complete failure” -29 Mar. @ 9.17pm – has written an enlightened piece about his own experiences. Any chance of a repeat as a guest post? It should be seen by
    as many people as possible.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    More extraordinary dysfunction inside the government. Radio Waatea reports:

    PARTY AMBUSHED ON WELFARE CHANGES

    Associate social welfare minister Tariana Turia says the Maori Party did not see details of the welfare reforms before they were announced last week.

    Mrs Turia says with many Maori out of work and whanau struggling to cope, it’s not the right time to be overhauling the system.

    She had no chance to object to measures such as making solo parents look for part time work as soon as their youngest child turns six.

    “They came out and then we asked to see them, they were sent over to us. We didn’t agree with the way they were couched,’ Mrs Turia says.

    She was upset by Welfare Minister Paula Bennett’s statement the dream is over for many beneficiaries, as being on a benefit was anything but a dream.

    (ends)

    Associate Minister slams Minister. Stark policy divisions within portfolio, in direct contravention of the confidence and supply agreement.

    So, who’s going to be left in charge of these policies when Paula Bennett heads off to the USA for a nice long break? Tariana Turia?

    What a mess.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Well, that’s the Maori Party showing that it’s completely incompetent and getting shafted by National.

  7. peter 7

    I see that John Tamihere wants to be 2ic to John Banks, Now thats a train wreck !!

    • Tigger 7.1

      They say he’ll split the centre-left vote? Really? Surely any self respecting leftie wouldn’t be tempted by that angry little racist/homophobe/misogynist.

  8. Were people aware that the lawyer in charge of the legal workstream in the Auckland Transition Authority was also a director of two Rio Tinto subsidiaries?

  9. Peter Johns 9

    I have a football contact on the NSCC who lives down my street who is a confidant to some council members as he is on the roading committee.
    He said that it is a real strong rumour that AW is going to stand for Mayor.
    Karma that will be.

  10. prism 10

    I’m all for Ministers being well-informed about the sector that they are overseeing, but should come to the job with the experience and understanding, not take time off for study leave in the middle of the job.

    “Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announces she has accepted an Eisenhower Fellowship for the Women’s Leadership Programme 2010.
    The prestigious six week Fellowship was awarded to only 20 women around the world who were identified as outstanding leaders.
    Ms Bennett has chosen to study successful US examples of the social corporate responsibility model while in America.”

    How can someone be offered a senior post with good salary and then get the training for it.? Why then couldn’t the woman who said she had London School of Economics doctorate or something be given study leave to actually get up to speed on her CV? It’s not the same thing I know but do we want our Ministers or even our backbenchers swanning off (while being paid by the taxpayer?) when she has been given an important job to do and very good pay to do it.

    When it comes to education, there are young people who need tailored plans to help them learn and achieve, and then they could become true outstanding leaders not just a mouthpiece for rehashes of right wing social policy benefit stew.

  11. Ed 11

    We are seeing a lot of side-shows, but in the meantime National are quietly plugging away with statements like “all government departments know that in the difficult financial times they will get no more money for many years to come”, and making a virtue of resisting a convenient IMF call for cuts to working for families, student loans, GP subsidies and the age of entitlement to NZ Super – while at the same time ensuring that those issues become discussion points for what ‘experts say should be done”. Bevan Graham in yesterdays Dom-Post calls for the unwinding of stimulus – referring of course to other countries but leaving it clear that similar actions are needed here. He notes that planned tax cuts had to be scrapped in the 2009 budget (but doesn’t mention 2008 cuts!) – and states “The fact we are not in the same situation as Greece is a direct consequence of tough fiscal decisions taken mostly during the 1990’s. The clear lesson is that the Government should not shy away from making similar difficult decisions now.”

    The hypocrisy of pushing for further tax cuts for the few very wealthy while pleading austerity and ‘difficult financial times’ for everything else is being hidden by revising history and by as many sideshows as possible. By bowing to public pressure on a lot of small things National gain legitimacy for doing the one thing they really want – lower tax for the wealthy with no justification being given or needed. The Axe the Tax bus seems a long time ago, doesn’t it?

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      funny thing is, back at budget time there was all that fear about the credit downgrade. Next day the ratings man was on the wireless saying that there would be no downgrade because the tax cuts weren’t as steep as they thought they might have been.

      Also, the IMF also mentioned the ‘stimulus’ criticising it for being poorly focussed and open ended. Again here they are talking about the tax cuts.

      The simple fact is that to cut taxes, you have to also cut spending. Right wing parties can’t cut enough spending to get the tax cuts they want. With utter dishonesty, they make the tax cuts anyway, knowing the damage this will cause to the govt books, and hoping that this will allow the necessary cuts to spending to occur in the future.

      However, when the crunch comes, the spending cuts are still too unpopular, so you get a left wing govt raising the taxes again. Rinse, repeat. It’s an expensive waste of time.

  12. Steve 12

    Was I dreaming, or did TV3 report last night that John Tamihare is looking at standing in the Super City elections on the John Banks ticket? In this nightmare they quoted his supporters as being Mathew Hooten and Matt McCarten. Please can someone assure me that I’ve just had a bad nights sleep or is this another train wreck?.

  13. prism 13

    Dame Margaret Bazley pops up again, involved in the Canterbury rehash of local democracy. She was a player in the Auckland planning group too wasn’t she.
    I dislike these ‘tidying’ women like her and Jenny Shipley etc. Going around sweeping up and throwing out any messy aspects of government that offend their eye. Like the managers of a poorhouse from Dickens – one pea for you is a meal, you don’t need more. Get back to your bench and don’t complain or it will be worse for you.

    • BLiP 13.1

      She’s also the one who put the boot into the legal aid service.

      • Steve 13.1.1

        Yes, BLiP, and she got that wrong. Her and Container Shipley together…now that’s going to create the train wreck of all train wrecks!

  14. BLiP 14

    Care about the environment? Want to make sure water resources are allocated fairly? Is it important that the voice of the people most concerned are taken into consideration? Look what happens if your answer is “yes”.

    • RedLogix 14.1

      An outrageous abuse of democratic process. Creech’s report was a flawed whack job, merely a fig-leaf for the water-grab Fed Farmers are demanding.

      NACT are barely pretending anymore.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1

        Yep, but no “Democracy Under Attack” slogans from the Granny even though the NACT party aren’t even hiding the simple fact that they’re taking our democracy away as fast as possible.

  15. Anne 15

    @ Steve
    Nope you’re right. And to add to the ongoing nightmare that is this government (we gotta start laughing or otherwise we’d cry) Tariana Turia has just announced she will be voting for Paula Bennett’s welfare reform bill which is to have it’s first reading today. She said she’s voting for it because she’s Associate Minister, but her colleagues might vote against it. Staggering!

    And this afternoon Andrew Williams is expected to announce he’s standing for the Super Mayoralty – at least that is the rumour.

    The train wreck is becoming a tsunami of disasters.

  16. Ianmac 16

    Talking of Andrew and Rodney, the cartoon today in the Herald is so true. Hypocrisy?
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/news-cartoons/news/headlines.cfm?c_id=500814

  17. prism 17

    NZ Institute? suggests that a survey of tourists be made to see the level of mining that would discourage them from coming here. Very funny – we don’t have any ideals and standards of our own, we act only on what visitors with money to spend here think. Do you like me? I’m for sale, slightly less fresh and lovely than I used to be but still good for some fun and games! Some say I’m a bit costly but try me and fly me!

    And some people have said that tourism has bad effects on a country. It seems its the only thing that will protect our environment from further onslaughts of the type our early colonialists made as they got rid of the forests to make way for farmland. And all for 1.255555 percent of GDP growth, which we could get if we organised some currency controls to make our exporting more efficient – perhaps not having to have extra costs because of currency hedging etc.

    We’ve had low inflation, now everybody takes that for granted – costs on our project up by over $500,000, well we have such a thing as inflation you know, a comment I read recently. We can’t manage better at 3% inflation than we did at about 6%. It was supposed to make things easier for investors to have low inflation, but it seems it was better for speculators. A different outcome than expected, but no worries we can boost our takings, we’ll sell off the bits of the country that are just ‘wasted’ land. That’s how they designated Maori land on early maps. They weren’t using it all the time, so it was spare, open land that should be available to turn a penny into a pound.

    • nzfp 17.1

      Hi prism,
      Good evening, I’d like to offer an contrasting view to your comment that “We’ve had low inflation”. I’d like to suggest that we’ve actually had hyperinflation in certain asset classes within our economy. Bear in mind that the RBNZ measures inflation by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)[1] with a basket of goods. If you compare a $50 basket of goods from Dec 1967 with Dec 2009 you would need to pay $782.84 for the same goods. To me this doesn’t appear to suggest a stable economy.

      However, one important fact is that this basket of goods does not include housing. Bear in mind that 98%[2] of the money in our economy is created – out of thin air – by private mostly foreign (Australian) banks as loans with the majority of those loans against mortgages[3] (both private and commercial). Those loans must be paid back with interest. That means that if an Australian owned bank grants a mortgage of $100,000 they simply create that money out of thin air and enter it into an account and immediately start charging interest on it. This mortage at 5% over 30 years requires a repayment to the private (Australian) bank of $193,255.78. This means the bank gets $193,255.78 or your house at no risk because they create the money from nothing at all and then sit back and wait for the real money (debt) to roll in.

      Due to the nature of the risk vs profits for the banks, the banks have created lending conditions conducive to a huge inflation[4][5] in property prices[6] – far beyond the 3% to 6% inflation band of our 80’s neo-liberal Monetarist economy – as the higher the property prices the greater the profits to the private (Australian) banks.

      Essentially our economy is not controlled by our democratically elected parliament but by a small group of six or seven mostly private foreign owned banks who decide who gets access to the money and who doesn’t. Is it no surprise then that John Key and Bill English and Michael Cullen and Don Brash are all bankers?

      There are solutions to the economic problems we face. There are simple ways we could completely revitalise our economy and our infrastructrure in a manner that acknowledges our responsibility to our citizens, our environment and the need for a sustainable future. We could rebuild a green and modern New Zealand, providing jobs, a revitalised economy and brand new infrastructure without taxing the citizens or borrowing from private foreign banks, without debt. For a good description of how we could do this read the article “Sustainable Energy Development: How Costs Can Be Cut In Half”[7] by Ellen Hodgson Brown.

      Good night

      [1] RBNZ “CPI” http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/0135595.html
      [2] RBNZ “C1 Monetary aggregates” http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/monfin/c3/data.html [100 – (Currency in circulation / M3 * 100) = 100 – (4,030 / 205,430 * 100) = 98% ]
      [3] RBNZ “C7 Sectoral analysis of outstanding NZD claims: registered banks” http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/monfin/c7/data.html
      [4] RBNZ “Financial vulnerability of mortgage-indebted households” http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research/bulletin/2007_2011/2009mar72_1kida.pdf
      [5] MSD “Beyond reasonable debt: a background report on the indebtedness of New Zealand families” http://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/social-policy-journal/spj35/beyond-reasonable-debt.pdf
      [6] RBNZ “Key graphs – house prices and aggregate dwelling values” http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/keygraphs/Fig4.html
      [7] Ellen H. Brown “Sustainable Energy Development: How Costs Can Be Cut In Half” http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/energy-costs.php

  18. Bill 18

    From the Guardian, an outline of government plans to allow fans of football clubs to buy their club. And it begs the question as to why the self same legislative process ( or similar) does not kick in when a workplace is for sale or going bankrupt. If it can apply and work for companies that are sports clubs, then it can apply and work for al companies. My additions in brackets.

    “The plans include:

    • Requiring clubs (companies) to hand a stake of up to 25% to fans (employees) in recognition of their links with their local community.

    • Implementing a change-of-control clause that would allow fans (workers) a window to put together a takeover of their club (workplace) if it was up for sale or went into administration.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/mar/28/government-plan-football-clubs-fans

  19. BLiP 19

    Goff goofs his mining questions – he’s really going to have to get his shit together in the House. Where’s the prime minister these days? Frightened little bunny seems to have ducked for cover the last couple of weeks.

    • quenchino 20.1

      Tried googling this John Lewis Spencer character; the only references may be to a person of the same name who has been a director of the Tower insurance group. Wonder who the hell he is and why he got the nod?

      • felix 20.1.1

        He’s one of the richest people in NZ (surprised?). He owns a huge chunk of Waiheke and a couple of other islands in the gulf.

      • Janice 20.1.2

        Is he the same John Spencer who made his pile under the Nats year back wnen there were import controls on toilet paper? He used to live on Parasite Drive and then he moved to Stoney Batter on Waiheke Island and closed off a public road to stop people getting to it and being able to see his house. May be a differnt one, but no surprise if it is the same one getting his rewards for funding the NACTS.

          • Armchair Critic 20.1.2.1.1

            Nah, that just tells us he has lots of money, and used to have a ridiculously large yacht. And the other posts are of a similar nature – made his money from Caxton’s, had strange ideas about the public’s right to use public roads, director of a lot of public companies.
            I’m more interested in what he will do at KiwiRail. The inferences from my google search, the comments and links don’t bode well. Hence the alarm bells.

            • prism 20.1.2.1.1.1

              ac Perhaps Spencer will revolutionise train travel, maybe put in ejector seats or moving walkways or bring in hover-rail between Auckland and Hamilton. Or perhaps a lying-along class for cheap travel attached to the top of the train and also with handholds on the side as in India. Then raise the prices for the inside people to make the rail pay. Freight will be the prime money earner so people will have to wait in the train for the last freight for that trip to arrive and be loaded.

              Or perhaps he’s not darn well going to let the train leave the station until a certain percentage of seats are sold, and people will just have to camp out by the train, in the cafes and so on at the stations, until enough people come on board to ride on the old ‘City of Auckland’ (or Wellington if there are two trains).

  20. BLiP 21

    W T F !!

    A man too stupid to understand the spending rules around his taxpayer-issued credit card is about to be reinstated into cabinet!!!

    • Draco T Bastard 21.1

      Yeah, saw that. Anyone else would have been fired.

      • Ianmac 21.1.1

        Even Espiner speculated that the need to reinstste him was to protect others who had also rorted like Brownlee. Sack him. Sack the others. Key relaxed about it.

        • Tigger 21.1.1.1

          Best news of the day. Heatley got away with being, at the very least, laissez-faire once and will be too stupid to change his ways…

          • Gosman 21.1.1.1.1

            But wait… I thought there was something a little more sinister behind his original resignation. Or perhaps that was just the overactive imaginations of some of the regular contributors to this blog.

            Consiracy theorist much?

            • felix 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Could you point to an example?

              I seem to recall a few theories about him slinking back in once everyone had forgotten about the expense accounts of a couple of other ministers.

              What do you remember?

  21. nzfp 22

    Sorry just a quick test

    [lprent: Ok – let the quick test through…]

  22. gingercrush 23

    What the hell is up with the Greens lately. They’re a bloody mess. I see the female one whose name currently escapes me was on the news with the protest in Wellington today. I also saw her in the house. What an arrogant person, thinks highly of herself. I don’t see it myself. Their media appearances are so rare lately. They don’t seem to be sending out many press releases. For the last three months or so they’ve largely been missing in action.

  23. lprent 24

    Lyn is going to be on Sunrise (TV3) tomorrow at 0850, talking about the documentary she has been working on forever. Doing it live, which should make it interesting.

    Have a look….

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